If you have an email account, odds are you’ve received a suspicious-looking email that tries to lure you into revealing personal information. This tactic is known as phishing. Phishing isn’t a new scam; it has been around for many years and continues to grow. Criminals are getting more and more creative with their devious attempts to steal innocent people’s data.
Despite the technological advances of anti-virus software and early detection efforts, phishing attempts are here to stay. Everyone is a potential target, especially businesses with their large amounts of sensitive employee and client information.
It’s important for business owners to educate their employees on how to detect phishing attempts and the importance of preventing these attacks to protect the organization.
Here are 10 easy ways to detect a phishing email and stop scammers.
1. Check the sender
Expand the email address to make sure it appears legitimate and is spelled correctly. Is the sender familiar – an individual you know or a business you regularly engage with?
2. Hover before you click
Verify the link address matches the link’s description. Phishers are capable of copying email templates and branding to make emails appear as if they’re from a trusted sender. However, they’ll swap links with fraudulent ones, leading users right into a trap.
3. Don’t trust urgency
Phishing emails commonly use urgency to bypass your better judgment. Again, if the email isn’t from an individual or business you regularly communicate with, there is no need for urgency.
4. Practice caution with attachments
An attacker can quickly install malware if you open an attachment. Cybercriminals commonly use attachments with intriguing names, but resist the urge to open them!
5. Check spelling
Malicious emails are known for bad grammar and spelling – an easy red flag.
6. Check the email signature
Most sincere senders include a full email signature that matches their address. If a sender’s email signature contains contact information, a quick Google search could help verify they are who they say they are.
7. Protect personal information
Legitimate companies rarely ask for sensitive personal information via email. If you’re concerned about a request, you can always call the company’s phone number listed on their website and speak with someone to confirm the validity.
8. Check for vague introductions
“Valued Customer” or similar intros are potential signals the email is from an outsider sending mass communications and waiting for someone to bite.
9. Trust your gut
If something seems slightly off, don’t doubt your intuition! Make a call or report the email as soon as possible.
10. Report suspicious emails
Tech support and management would rather review a suspicious email than put an entire organization at risk. Do your part and share suspicious emails with your IT team!
With phishing attempts becoming more and more clever, the best offense is a good defense. Our experts work closely with organizations to evaluate their current information systems environment and advise on how to help keep them protected.
Have questions about how to protect your business from phishing attempts? Let’s talk!